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TETFund considers suspending foreign scholarships due to funding difficulties


TETFund considers suspending foreign scholarships due to funding difficulties

The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Arc. Sonny Echono, has raised concerns about the challenges in funding foreign scholarship tuition and stipends following the recent monetary policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

These difficulties have prompted TETFund to contemplate suspending foreign scholarships while considering an upward review of local scholarships.

During a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, Echono addressed the issue, stating, “The Fund’s allocation is barely enough to support the programs under our Tertiary Scholarship for Academic Staff (TSAS). At this time, the Fund is also discouraging beneficiary institutions from initiating new Benchwork programs.

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Additionally, there are issues surrounding scholars not fulfilling their bonds by returning to serve at their home institutions upon completion of their programs. The challenge of scholars absconding has undermined and complicated the TSAS program, bringing it under intense scrutiny.”

Recognizing the need for solutions, Echono emphasized the importance of the stakeholders’ engagement in addressing these challenges and ensuring the effective and smooth implementation of scholarship programs.

He also mentioned the establishment of a National Research Fund Screening and Monitoring Committee (NRFS&MC) to enhance the effectiveness of the National Research Fund (NRF) by screening and selecting proposals for funding.

Chris Maiyaki, the Acting Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), stressed the need to develop new funding strategies while being sensitive to the evolving challenges.

He advised TETFund to strengthen its monitoring for quality assurance to maximize the return on investment in its projects.

Princes Miriam Onuoha, the Chairman of the House Committee on TETFund, highlighted the importance of inclusivity in tertiary institutions, especially for Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWD).

She emphasized the need to make infrastructures accessible and accommodating to meet the needs of PLWD.

Prof. Peter Okebukola, the former Executive Secretary of NUC, called for a monitoring and implementation system to ensure adherence to academic calendars in universities. Regarding the scholarship challenges, Okebukola suggested reducing TETFund’s overseas scholarships in favor of in-country training in TETFund strengthened Postgraduate (PG) programs.

He also proposed sending top-rated lecturers from overseas universities to Nigeria for training under Nigerian professors and sending professors for capacity building to top-rate overseas universities, enhancing doctoral education and supervision.

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